No Oscar broadcast to WABC in N.Y.?

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Postby OscarGuy » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:52 am

Whomever's at fault won't matter. Cablevision will likely lose thousands of subscribers over this.

But, I really have to agree with ABC on this one (sadly), if you charge for free broadcast channels, you should probably pay something to the parent company.
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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:16 am

NEW YORK – ABC's parent company switched off its signal to Cablevision's 3.1 million customers in New York at midnight Saturday in a dispute over payments that escalated just hours before the start of the Academy Awards.

In dueling statements dispatched early Sunday, the two companies blamed each other for the stalemate in negotiations over fees.

"Cablevision has once again betrayed its subscribers," said Charissa Gilmore, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Co. and ABC Television Group, in a statement. "Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren't getting what they pay for ... again."

Cablevision Systems Corp. said the stall in negotiations should be blamed on Disney CEO Bob Iger. "It is now painfully clear to millions of New York area households that Disney CEO Bob Iger will hold his own ABC viewers hostage in order to extract $40 million in new fees from Cablevision," said Charles Schueler, a Cablevision executive vice president, in a statement.

The signal can still be pulled from the air for free with an antenna and a new TV or digital converter box.

Cablevision has argued that Disney is seeking an additional $40 million a year in new fees, even though the company pays more than $200 million a year to Disney.

Disney counters by arguing that Cablevision charges customers $18 per month for basic broadcast signals but does not pass on any payment for ABC to Disney.

The dispute is similar to a standoff at the end of last year between News Corp. and Time Warner Cable over how much Fox television station signals were worth. That tussle, which threatened the college football bowl season and new episodes of "The Simpsons," was resolved without a signal interruption.

Cablevision also feuded with Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. in a January dispute that temporarily forced the Food Network and HGTV off the service. Neither side provided terms of an agreement that restored the channels after three weeks.

Disney and Cablevision have been airing dueling advertisements about the ongoing dispute for the past week. Also, lawmakers in Washington have chimed in, suggesting the Federal Communications Commission step in.

The company's previous contract with Cablevision expired more than two years ago, but it was extended month by month as talks continued.

Under previous arrangements, Disney was paid for cable channels such as ESPN and Disney Channel, but gave its ABC broadcast signal away for free, a situation that most broadcasters are now trying to change.

"We can no longer sit back and allow Cablevision to use our shows for free while they continue to charge their customers for them," WABC-TV president and general manager Rebecca Campbell said in a statement.

Schueler suggested that disgruntled viewers should blame Disney's top executive if the station goes dark.

"There is one man who is going to decide whether New York gets to see the Oscars, and that's Disney President and CEO Bob Iger," he said in a statement late Friday. "We call on Bob Iger to stop holding his own viewers hostage, end his threats to pull the plug on ABC at midnight and instead work with us to reach a fair agreement."

WABC-TV is the most watched TV station in the country, said Disney, which is based in Burbank, Calif.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:20 pm

From the Hollywood Reporter

Cablevision viewers may miss Oscarcast
N.Y.'s WABC could be pulled Sunday over retrans impasse

Staff report

March 1, 2010, 08:29 PM ET

Updated: March 1, 2010, 11:18 PM ET
Another retransmission standoff emerged Monday when ABC threatened to pull its signal from the systems of cable provider Cablevision.

The cabler could be forced to drop ABC's O&O station WABC New York at 12:01 a.m. ET on March 7, hours before the network's Oscar telecast. About 3.3 million viewers in New York's Long Island, Westchester, Brooklyn and the Bronx and some suburbs of Connecticut and New Jersey would be affected.

Cablevision and WABC have been without a contract for the past two years, with the station granting the cable operator monthlong extensions.

With the Oscar telecast, its biggest event of the year, looming, the station and parent ABC are taking a firmer stance.

"We've built ABC7 into the most-watched station in the country and have been trying for two years to get Cablevision to acknowledge the station's value to their business," WABC president and GM Rebecca Campbell said. "Despite our best efforts, it has now become clear that Cablevision has no intention of coming to a fair agreement. We can no longer sit back and allow Cablevision to use our shows for free while they continue to charge their customers for them."

Cablevision responded to WABC's threat to pull its signal through executive vp communications and community relations Charles Schueler.

"It is shocking that in these difficult economic times, ABC-Disney is threatening to remove WABC unless Cablevision and its customers pay $40 million in new fees for programming that it offers today for free, both over-the-air and online," he said Monday. "It is not fair for ABC-Disney to hold Cablevision customers hostage by forcing them to pay what amounts to a new TV tax. We urge ABC-Disney not to pull the plug and instead work with us to reach a fair agreement."

The timing of WABC's move echoes the New Year's Eve standoff between Fox's O&O stations and Time Warner Cable, in which Fox threatened to pull the network's signal on the eve of its coverage of college football's top bowl games.

Pressure from lawmakers and subscribers helped Fox hammer out a deal that includes a substantial retransmission fee from TW Cable, said to be in the 60 cents-$1 range, close to Fox's original target of $1 per subscriber a month.

At the time, Disney issued a statement supporting Fox and touting its stations' right to sizable retransmission fees from cable operators.

It is not clear whether WABC is pursuing a similar $1-per-subscriber fee, but it is understood that Cablevision's counteroffer was in the ballpark of what the company pays for the right to carry Sundance Channel.

A tense retransmission-fee dispute between Cablevision and Scripps kept Scripps' Food Network and HGTV off Cablevision for 20 days in January until the sides reached an agreement.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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